I hate to say it, but not only is this probably my least favorite Elvis movie, I really didn’t like it at all. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed watching it because I had the pleasure of watching and listening to Elvis, but the movie was silly, not just ‘fun’ silly like some of his movies, but really, really silly. And, the romance was a sub par. It seemed like he just decided between the two girls and chose the dark-haired one and suddenly they were a couple. I did love that there were two Elvis’, even though the hick in the blond wig just didn’t quite measure up to the ‘other’ Elvis. Critics have said that this was the beginning of the downhill spiral of low budget, bad Elvis movies, but I loved most of the ones that came after, so I beg to differ.
About: Elvis plays two roles. One of them was Josh Morgan, an army officer who is sent to the Smoky Mountains to convince a backwoods family to allow the Army to build a missile site on their land. He is chosen because he is from the area. As it turns out, the family is his kinfolk, including a lookalike cousin, Jodie Tatum, played by Elvis in a blond wig. Elvis falls for one of the hill girls and the Army gets their site, but the family also benefits. Happily Ever After, etc.
Side notes: Elvis hated wearing the strawberry blond wig.
Yvonne Craig, who was his co-star and leading lady, was also in “It Happened at the World’s Fair” although she was not his main love interest. When asked what it was like working with Elvis, she said:
“I did two movies with Elvis – “It Happened at the World’s Fair” and “Kissin’ Cousins” and both times not only was he an absolute joy but the experience itself was wonderful. He was extremely professional – always on time, knew his lines, and was very much a part of the cast, never pulling rank as the “star”. He had a great deal of self-deprecating sense of humor and was very much a “southern gentleman” as far as good manners were concerned. Because he surrounded himself with his friends from Memphis, it was for me like always having about ten playful but protective big brothers on the set.”
Favorite Song: Tender Feeling
Favorite Scene: I suppose it’s the end where Elvis is singing Kissin’ Cousins and looking adorable.
Viva Las Vegas
This was one of the most well-loved Elvis movies, and is one of my favorites. I believe a lot of it had to do with the chemistry between Ann-Margaret and Elvis. It has been rumored, and I believe it to be true, that they were deeply in love in real life. I think she would have been a perfect mate for him. They had a lot in common, and dear Lord, what a gorgeous couple they made.
About: Elvis plays Lucky Jackson, a race car driver trying to earn money to put a new engine in his race car in time for the Grand Prix. He meets and falls for Rusty, played by Ann-Margaret, who fears for his safety and wants him to give up racing for her.
Side Notes: Viva Las Vegas grossed more than the Beatles movie “Hard Day’s Night” even though they were released in the same year, when Beatle Fever was in full swing.
The tabloids released images of the Elvis and Ann-Margaret wedding scene, claiming that the two had actually gotten married.
This was Elvis’ highest grossing film.
Favorite Song: I had a few favorites in this one, among them: The lady loves me, If You Think I Don’t Need You, and C’mon Everybody.
Favorite Scene: Lots of favorite scenes, but one of my top ones is when Rusty goes on a date with the Count because she’s angry with Lucky. Lucky is their waiter for the evening, and he’s ornery and adorable while serving them.
GREAT movie! Lots of fighting and hotness and emotional moments. I love in his movies, when he’s performing and troublemakers come in. Of course, a fight breaks out and Elvis says cute things and punches people. 🙂 Another plus for this movie; Elvis wore a lot of black leather and was a smarta$$, which created some sexy and funny moments. I wasn’t wild about Joan Freeman, who played his love interest, Cathy. Not sure why, maybe it was the dorky head scarfs.
About: Elvis plays Charlie Rogers, a man with a troubled past who finds trouble wherever he goes. After being fired from a singing gig, he encounters carnival owner, Maggie (played by Barbara Stanwyck). She is with Joe, her friend and co-worker, and Joe’s daughter, Cathy. When Joe runs Elvis off the road because he’s flirting with Cathy, Maggie offers to have his motorcycle fixed and put him up at the carnival until it’s ready. Elvis sings at the carnival and brings in customers, helping them out of their financial bind. But, he and Joe butt heads and Elvis leaves, only to return to claim the girl and save the day.
Side Notes: Elvis insisted on doing his own stunts.
Raquel Welch played a college student in the opening scene:
Mae West was first offered the role of Maggie, but declined when they refused to rewrite the script to make her one of Elvis’ love interests.
Favorite Song: One Track Heart
Favorite Scenes: Actually, they are favorite lines…
College student to Elvis (Charlie): This is a real crummy joint, I’ve seen more action in a zoo.
hich side of the cage, pal?
After they pull Elvis off of the guy he’s fighting at the carnival:
Cathy: “What are you trying to prove? You know you can beat him.”
Charlie: “He doesn’t know it.”
Charlie, when Madame Mijanou, played by Sue Ann Langdon, is putting the moves on him: I can only make love outdoors. The first girl I ever tried to make love to was hooked on the outdoors. I had to take the top down before she’d let me kiss her.
Madame Mijanou: Did you ever kiss her?
Charlie: Three hours later.
Madame Mijanou: It took you three hours to take the top down on a convertible?
Charlie: It wasn’t a convertible.
Thank you for joining me. Have you seen these movies? What did you think?
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Elvis was known for his giving heart and charitable work during his lifetime. Lisa Marie and Elvis Presley Enterprises have continued that tradition with their involvement in various charities. In 1984, The Elvis Charitable Foundation was formed. The EPCF created a scholarship fund for students majoring in the arts. The charity also contributes to one of Elvis’ favorite charities, Goodwill Homes, a Memphis facility that provides counseling and services for abused children and their families. The EPCF also assists numerous other charities, especially focusing on arts, education and children’s programs.
Learn more here, including how to donate:
END OF LONELY STREET – Now Only 99 Cents!
On Elvis’ birthday this year, I released a Vintage Romance short story set in 1957, and of course, my heroine is an Elvis fan. 🙂 As a tribute to Elvis’ generosity, and in order to assist with this worthy cause, 10% of my proceeds for End of Lonely Street will go to the EPCF.
All Toby Lawson wants is to go to college to become a teacher and to be free of her alcoholic mother and some painful memories. But when her mother nearly burns the house down, Toby must put her dreams on hold and return home to care for her. The only time she isn’t lonely and miserable is when she’s listening to her heartthrob, Elvis Presley. His music takes her away and helps her escape from everything wrong in her life.
Noah Rivers has always loved Toby, but no matter what he says, she can‘t get past the fact that her drunken mother once kissed him. He soon realizes the true problem lies in Toby’s belief she’s not good enough for him and in her fear she will be just like her mother.
What will it take to prove to her that she deserves to be happy, and that he would give anything to be the man to make her dreams come true?